My nephew, Brayden, played “Pomp and Circumstance” for the last time on Sunday. Next year, he will be marching down to receive his diploma! There are many things to do before that last march on the football field and the first one is best done this month.
When my youngest graduated from high school, we couldn’t decide where to get his senior pictures taken.
We had three options:
Photographer 1 took the senior pictures of my first two children.
Photographer 2 is a close friend of the extended family. So close, that her family has attended our family reunion for decades.
Photographer 3 is a relative of my daughter-in-law. She took a family picture of us after their wedding.
They all are excellent photographers and we worried about hurt feelings. Then I remembered the deal I made with Photographer 1.
My oldest son graduated in 2005. I saw a picture of a 2004 graduate that captured her personality, taken by Photographer 1.
When I called, I told the photographer I had a senior and a junior. I asked her if she could make me a deal if I had my daughter’s pictures taken there the next year.
She offered me two free family sittings. I used the first free sitting for my extended family in 2004. I never used the second one.
I called Photographer 1 and reminded her I still had a second free sitting. I asked her if we could use it for my youngest sons’ senior pictures.
She said, “Yes!”
They base sitting fees on the different outfits worn for pictures. In his case, it was $25.00 per outfit. Derek wore a baseball uniform and three other outfits for his pictures. That saved me $100.00 in sitting fees.
Top Ten Tips
1. Book your appointment in June. Most photographers will have a reduced rate or throw in free pictures for early bookings. My sitting fee for my first son was 75% off because I booked in June. Every photographer has their own incentives.
2. If you have more than one child, ask for a deal and have all of them photographed by the same one. The pictures will have a similar feel because each photographer has their own style.
3. Limit the outfits your child wears. This is especially hard with girls!
4. Ask if the photographer has a “Participation Bonus”. You get a free gift or picture when your child is wearing a uniform: band, sports, even FFA.
5. Have your child be a model for the photographer for a free or reduced sitting fee.
6. Order the minimum number of pictures needed. Make a list of all the relatives you are buying for and write the size of the print you want for them next to it. Buy a large print for yourself and an 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 for your child. Don’t order hundreds of wallets. Derek graduated with 129 other students. I ordered 100 wallets for Luke and had a stack left over. I ordered 88 wallets for Laura and used them all. So, I ordered only 88 for Derek and used them all.
7. You may get more opportunities for free pictures later in the year by writing a review.
8. In January they go on sale. They contact you to see if you need more photos, sometimes at reduced prices. You can also get a copy of your child’s portfolio or picture DVD at a reduced price.
9. Some photographers throw in a free bonus picture if you pay in full when you place your order.
10. You can also get free photos and other freebies based on the amount of money you spend, i.e. spend $200.00 – get one freebie, spend $300.00 – get two freebies.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
If your photographer is a family member . . .
- do not expect a free sitting. This is how they make their living. Be willing to pay full price and be grateful if they offer you a discount.
- do not expect them to clear their schedule to accommodate you.
- do not cancel at the last-minute, unless it is an emergency, and pay them the sitting fee anyway.
Being frugal is not about being cheap; it is about making the most of your money!
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